Ireland considering alcohol interlock rehabilitation programme

  • January 22, 2024

A government working group on the potential use of alcohol interlock rehabilitation programmes in Ireland is set to report its findings in March according to minister of state at the Irish department of transport, Jack Chambers. 

Mr Chambers made the comments at an event on tackling drink-driving co-organised by the Irish Road Safety Authority (RSA), ETSC and the Irish Medical Bureau of Road Safety earlier this month in Dublin.

A key action of Ireland’s Government Road Safety Strategy called for the establishment of a working group to consider and make recommendations for the implementation of an alcohol interlock programme, supported by a drink-drive rehabilitation course for high-risk drink-drive offenders.

The announcement came as a new survey showed there is still much work to be done to change attitudes to drink-driving in Ireland.  New research presented by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) found that one in 10 Irish motorists have driven after consuming alcohol in the last 12 months.

Of those who admitted to consuming alcohol, the incidence was higher among male drivers (14%), those who drive for work (14%), and those with a history of collision involvement (24%).

Almost one in three (28%) of this group admitted to consuming two or more drinks on the last occasion they drove after consuming alcohol, in the last 12 months.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of motorists surveyed agreed that ‘most of my acquaintances/friends think driving under the influence of alcohol is unacceptable’. In comparison, 85% of drivers surveyed agreed with this statement in 2019, a concerning decline.

Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of ETSC said: “To reach the EU target to cut road deaths by 50% by 2030, it’s essential to tackle drink-driving. Several EU countries, including Belgium, France, Lithuania and Poland are now addressing this issue by requiring alcohol ignition interlock devices in the cars of those who have engaged in drink-driving, particularly those who do so repeatedly. Italy is also preparing legislation to bring alcohol ignition interlocks into the legal system. We hope Ireland can join this growing group of countries and introduce this lifesaving, tried and tested technology in the near future.”